MANILA, Philippines -Reaffirming its goal to increase infrastructure spending and push for higher economic growth in 2012, the Aquino administration allocated P19.6 billion in counterpart funds for the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program this year, a 56.8-percent increase from 2011’s P12.5-billion counterpart budget.
“The increased funding for public-private partnerships will help the administration’s PPP program gain more traction this fiscal year, enabling us to fill infrastructure gaps and optimize our economic growth. We also expect to see concrete results for our private sector partnerships earlier this year,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said.
Abad said the Aquino administration hopes not just to increase private participation in key sector s but also boost the government’s ability to respond to high demand public services by providing ample counterpart funding for PPP projects.
“By providing ample counterpart funding for our public-private partnerships, the Aquino government hopes not just to increase private participation in key sectors, but also to boost our ability to respond to high-demand public services. The multiplier effect of successful PPP projects will certainly be felt in the economy, particularly with respect to our infrastructure spending,” he said.
Of the P19.6-billion allocation, P8.6 billion will be given to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to shore up PPP initiatives under its wing. A total of P6.6 billion of the DOTC’s total budget will be used to implement six PPP projects, such as development programs for the Panglao Airport in Bohol, the Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan and the New Legazpi Airport in Albay.
Other funded programs under the P6.6-billion allocation include the LRT Line 1 south extension and Privatization, the MRT/LRT Common Ticketing Project, and the department’s Project Development Fund. The remaining P2 billion will be used for the DOTC’s Strategic Support Fund for PPP projects.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education’s classroom-construction efforts with the private sector will be supported by a P4-billion allocation. The Department of Health’s public-private partnerships will also receive a P3-billion counterpart fund, geared primarily toward the construction and maintenance of health centers and hospitals. The P3 billion of the total fund for PPP projects will aid the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in covering right-of-way costs, feasibility studies, and independent consultations for various projects this year.
DPWH projects that will receive support are those for the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Toll Expressway (TPLEX), Daang-Hari-SLEX Link Road, NAIA Expressway, CALA Expressway Project (Cavite side), and Manila North Expressway.
The budget chief also noted that the agricultural sector would be buttressed by public-private engagements, with P1billion in counterpart funds to go to the Deparment of Agriculture’s PPP programs. These include the Corn Bulk Handling and Trans-Shipment System Project; the establishment of rice centrals, processing and service centers; and the establishment of a cold chain system for strategic areas in the country.
Other PPP projects in the DA’s pipeline include logistics support on the supply chain for agri-fishery projects through the Southrail Mainline, as well as the Balintingon Reservoir Multi-Purpose Project.
“The Aquino administration’s PPP thrust innovates on traditional methods for spurring economic growth in the country. This year, we take an even more vigorous approach at tapping the resources made available to us by the private sector. This will help us quicken the pace of project implementation and ultimately allow us to deliver critical services in a faster, more efficient way,” Abad said. - By Aurea Calica and Lawrence Agcaoili